Paläontologisches Institut und Museum


Research projects

PD Dr. Torsten Scheyer
Bone histology of Mesozoic marine reptiles
January 2010 to December 2017
Funding sources
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung), No project-specific funding
This is an ongoing research collaboration including several (changing) collaborators, partly funded by the SNF
Dr. Nicole Klein (SMNS Stuttgart) (Germany)
Dr. Alexandra Houssaye (MNHN Paris) (France)
Dr. Jasmina Hugi (former member of PIMUZ) (Switzerland)
world map
During the Mesozoic era (ca. 252 Myrs-65 Myrs ago, including the time periods Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous) several lineages of reptilians independently re-invaded the marine realms. This often led to drastic changes in the morphology and physiology of these animals as they adapted to their new habitat.
The analysis of the microanatomy and microstructure of fossil hard tissues such as bones and teeth is often the only available means to address biological aspects like metabolism and life history traits of extinct tetrapod lifeforms. Here we use this bone histological approach to elucidate the biology and life style of several of the Mesozoic marine reptiles, including ichthyosaurs and sauropterygians.
Ichthyosauria, Sauropterygia, bone microstructure, palaeobiology, life history, Mesozoic
Houssaye, A., T. M. Scheyer, C. Kolb, V. Fischer, and P. M. Sander. 2014. A new look at ichthyosaur long bone microanatomy and histology: Implications for their adaptation to an aquatic life. PLOS ONE 9(4):e95637 [doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095637].
Maxwell, E. E., T. M. Scheyer, and D. A. Fowler. 2014. An evolutionary and developmental perspective on the loss of regionalization in the limbs of derived ichthyosaurs. Geological Magazine 151(1):29-40 [doi: 10.1017/S0016756812001070].
Hugi, J., and T. M. Scheyer. 2012. Ossification sequences and associated ontogenetic changes in the bone histology of pachypleurosaurids from Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland/Italy). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32(2):315-327 [doi: 10.1080/02724634.2012.646376].
Hugi, J., T. M. Scheyer, P. M. Sander, N. Klein, and M. R. Sánchez-Villagra. 2011. Long bone microstructure gives new insights into the life of pachypleurosaurids from the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland/Italy. Comptes Rendus Palevol 10(5-6):413-426 [doi: 10.1016/j.crpv.2011.03.009].
Kolb, C., M. R. Sánchez-Villagra, and T. M. Scheyer. 2011. The palaeohistology of the basal ichthyosaur Mixosaurus Baur, 1887 (Ichthyopterygia, Mixosauridae) from the Middle Triassic: palaeobiological implications. Comptes Rendus Palevol 10(5-6):403-411 [doi: 10.1016/j.crpv.2010.10.008].
Scheyer, T. M., N. Klein, and P. M. Sander. 2010. Developmental palaeontology of Reptilia as revealed by histological studies. In: Developmental Vertebrate Palaeontology (Sánchez-Villagra, M. R., ed.). Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 21(4):462-470.